We excel at different things. Just because your friend Lisa picks up Math and Science lectures faster than you do doesn’t mean she’s smarter than you. Perhaps you’re good at writing and public speaking and you understand lessons better when you’re reading them out loud.
It’s all about how we identify and understand our unique learning styles. People have different ways of understanding and retaining information. So if your child is poor in spelling or can’t read well, chances are that parents and educators might be using teaching methods that don’t support his or her learning style and pace.
Understanding the differences in these learning styles can improve the way teachers handle their students. Without the proper understanding of the variations in learning styles, educators may end up having some students falling behind their peers because their unique learning styles haven’t been exercised.
Figuring out the learning style of a child is the key to effective tutoring. Whether you’re a newbie tutor or a parent preparing to homeschool your child, here are 4 different learning styles a child may possess and how to tailor your lectures according to them.
1. Visual Learners (Spatial)
As its name suggests, visual learners understand information better when presented in a visual manner. They learn best through visual symbols like pictures, illustrations, diagrams, and written directions. They are students to love to doodle, make lists, and take notes.
Tutoring tips to cater to visual learners:
- Use flashcards, charts, graphs, concept maps, and other visual aids.
- Demonstrate lessons using drawings and diagrams
- Add pictures in PowerPoint presentations
- Act out a lesson by using your body language
- Ask students to doodle examples based on the topic they’re learning
- Highlight important key terms in corresponding colors.
- Give them more time to process materials, as they observe visual cues before them
2. Auditory Learners
Auditory learners understand lessons better when the subject matter is reinforced by sound. These kids prefer listening to verbal lectures than reading written notes. They tend to be slower when it comes to reading instructions and they understand them better when they’re being spoken.
They often use their own voices and recite readings out loud to retain information better. They tend to be great at verbally explaining things. They are also more likely to ask a lot of questions.
Tutoring tips to cater to auditory learners:
- Conversations make the lessons more interesting for them, so talk it out.
- Since they often find it hard to keep quiet for long periods, ask them to repeat back new concepts to you. Ask questions and let them answer
- Recite the study notes to help them memorize the lesson better
- Use video materials
- For young kids, you can incorporate music to a lesson or make up rhymes
- Make sure you’re speaking clearly and pleasantly.
- If you’re online tutoring, encourage video conferences.
3. Kinesthetic Learners (Tactile)
Kinesthetic or tactile learners are those who learn by experiencing or doing things. They learn better by carrying out a physical activity than listening to a lecture or watching a demo. They prefer to be “hands-on”, acting out events or using their hands to understand concepts.
These are the students who enjoy engaging in physical activities, like sports, acting and dancing, and tend to have a hard time sitting still.
Tutoring tips to cater to kinesthetic learners:
- Ask students to act out a certain scene from a history lesson
- Turn lessons into activities or games
- Incorporate movement into lessons, like asking them to write on the whiteboard or host an activity that involves touching things and moving around the room
- Use real-life examples, applications and case studies
- Facilitate lab experiments or hands-on projects.
- Bring props that can be touched to explain lessons better
4. Read and Write Learners (Verbal/Linguistic)
Do they love reading and writing? Do they find it easier to understand concepts that are written? If so, he or she may be a verbal learner.
While there are several similarities with visual learning, verbal learners are drawn to learning expressing themselves through words. They love writing in diaries, copying and takIng down notes, reading articles, looking up words in the dictionary, and researching on everything on the internet.
Tutoring tips to cater to reading/writing learners:
- Translate diagrams, charts, and graphics into sentences
- Reword main ideas and principles for a deeper understanding
- If you’re into math tutoring, give them word problems
- Provide opportunities for writing essays and stories
- Give them written materials and incorporate written projects
- Ask them to do more research and do book readings and report
- Use mnemonics, like PEMDAS, to help verbal learners understand complex concepts
- Establish a rhythm while reading or speaking to help them increase memorization capabilities
- Try educational games like crosswords, boggle, and scrabble.
Author Bio: Mina Corpuz is a daytime writer for Inflow Education Tutoring Sydney, a tutoring organization in Sydney, specializing in Math and English Tutoring. She enjoys writing practical tips on education, parenting, family, and relationships.